“There are two things I wanted to do. I wanted to show the things that had to be corrected. I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated.” So said Lewis W. Hine (1874–1940), a hugely influential pioneer of social documentary photography. Trained as an educator, the self-taught artist was galvanized by the power and potential of photography as a tool to “light up darkness.” As an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee beginning in 1908, Hine produced a vast scathing visual indictment of child-labor practices throughout the U.S. that proved instrumental in later national reforms. Paradoxically, Hine’s ability to show us the beauty of his subjects – despite their difficult lives – gives his photographs their ultimate power.
The Center for Documentary Studies’ Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program aspires to the spirit, values, and actions of its namesake. In connecting committed young documentarians with organizations serving children, adolescents, and their communities, the program aims to demonstrate the impact of documentary work. Explore the evidence of that impact on the program’s Lookout blog and on Hine-Sight.org, a recently launched website by 2013–14 Hine Fellow Natalie Minik, who created five multimedia pieces that revisit Hine Fellowship projects during the program’s Boston years.
Photo above: Hine-Sight.org considers the impact of documentary work on participants, partner organizations, and the documentarians themselves who collaborated on Lewis Hine Documentary Fellowships over its seven-year history in Boston. As the 2013-2014 Hine Fellow, Natalie Minik created five multimedia pieces, left to right, from projects by Gretchen Ferber, Amanda Van Scoyoc, Cameron Zohoori, Christina Wegs, and Indaia Whitcombe.